Variability of predialytic, intradialytic, and postdialytic blood pressures in the course of a week: a study of Dutch and US maintenance hemodialysis patients

Am J Kidney Dis. 2013 Oct;62(4):779-88. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2013.03.034. Epub 2013 Jun 4.


Background: Patients with thrice-weekly hemodialysis have higher predialysis weights and ultrafiltration rates at the first compared with subsequent dialysis sessions of the week. We hypothesized that these variations in weight and ultrafiltration rate are associated with a systematic difference in blood pressure.

Study design: Observational study.

Setting & participants: During 3 months, we prospectively collected hemodynamic data for 4,007 hemodialysis sessions involving 124 Dutch patients. A similar analysis was performed with 789 US patients, comprising 6,060 hemodialysis sessions.

Factor: First versus subsequent hemodialysis sessions of the week.

Outcomes: Blood pressure.

Measurements: Blood pressure, weight, and ultrafiltration rate were analyzed separately for the first, second, and third dialysis sessions of the week. Comparisons were made with linear mixed models.

Results: In Dutch patients, predialysis weight and ultrafiltration rate were significantly greater at the first compared with subsequent hemodialysis sessions of the week (P < 0.001). Predialysis systolic and diastolic blood pressures were higher at the first than at subsequent sessions of the week (P < 0.001). Predialysis blood pressure differences persisted throughout the session: systolic and diastolic blood pressures were on average 5.0 and 2.5 mm Hg higher during the first compared to the third session of the week. Postdialysis blood pressures followed a similar pattern (P < 0.001). Blood pressure differences between the first and subsequent days of the week persisted after adjustment for possible confounders. Results in the US cohort were materially identical despite differences in patient characteristics and treatment practice between the 2 cohorts.

Limitations: Dry weight was not assessed by objective methods.

Conclusions: Blood pressure of patients on a thrice-weekly dialysis schedule varies systematically over the week. Predialysis blood pressure is highest at the first hemodialysis session of the week, most likely due to greater interdialytic weight gain. Intra- and postdialytic blood pressures also are highest at the first session of the week despite higher ultrafiltration rates.

Keywords: Blood pressure; hemodialysis; hypotension; ultrafiltration.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Time Factors
  • United States